Saunders, Anderson qualify for post season at Stanford track meet

SAUNDERS, ANDERSON QUALIFY FOR POSTSEASON AT STANFORD TRACK MEET PALO ALTA, CA -- James Madison junior distance runners Shannon Saunders (Forest, Va./Jefferson Forest) and Nelly Anderson (Charlotte, N.C./Cordillera Academy) both qualified for postseason competition with personal-best performances at the Stanford Track and Field Invitational that concluded Saturday.

Saunders took nearly 24 seconds off the school record and qualified for the NCAA National Championships in the 10,000 meters. She finished 15th overall and 14th among collegiate runners with a time of 33 minutes, 54.56 seconds.

Her time surpassed the school record of 34:18.45 set by Lauren Burawski in 2002. Saunders ran nearly 34 seconds faster than her own personal-record of 34:28.01 which she clocked last May 14 at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.

Saunders also met the qualifying standards for the NCAA East Region Championships and the ECAC Championships. She is the defending ECAC 10,000-meter champion.

Kimberly Fitchen-Young, running unattached, won the race in 32:47.79. The top collegiate finisher was Wake Forest\'s Annie Gersagel, who finished second in 33:02.13.

Saunders qualified for the NCAA national meet for the second year in a row. She placed 16th in the 2004 competition.

Anderson won her section of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:34.17. She placed ninth overall and eighth among collegiate runners in the event, which was contested in two sections. Jessa Chance of Baylor had the overall best time of 10:19.21.

She improved her previous PR of 10:45.33 by more than 11 seconds. Anderson qualified for the NCAA East Region for the second year in a row and for the ECAC meet for the third straight year.

The 2005 NCAA National Championships are scheduled for June 8-11 in Sacramento, Calif., the NCAA East Region Championships are May 27-28 in Randall\'s Island, N.Y., and the ECAC Championships are May 13-15 in Princeton, N.J.